The Sports Game Stigma

The Sports Game Stigma

I like sports games…yet people seem to have issue with people playing them. The amount of times I’ve heard ”why would you play Fifa when you can play football in real life” is getting pretty ridiculous now. More often than not the people saying this have no interest in sport (or at least football…soccer for you lot in the US) so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Either way it often comes of as slightly snooty.

I play sports game because they are enjoyable, the same reason I play any other video game. To me, sports games have a huge amount of potential when it comes to replay value. When I spend my £40 on the latest Fifa I know for a fact I’ll be getting my years worth of play from it. Sure the basic outline of the game isn’t changing year to year, but its not the only game to do this. If Fifa is the same thing year in year out then how come its fine for 90% of other franchises to do that but not Fifa? (or any sports games). Fifa has changed in many ways in each installment, sure the changes aren’t obvious to non-Fifa players but the same can be said about most games. After all Battlefield 4 looks like Battlefield 3 if you were simply to look at it without playing it. The same applies to Halo, Forza and Mario.

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While the core gameplay of these games remains the same its the minor touches that breathes new life into them. If we are to openly criticize and moan about lack of progression in each yearly sports game, then surely we should apply this to ALL regularly updated franchises. If minor twists and additions are acceptable in many of the more ‘gamer’ accepted franchises then why cant they been accepted in sports games? Perhaps the popularity of sports games has influence on peoples views, after all they do bring in a lot of ‘non gamers’ (or casual , what ever you wish to label them) into the Xbox Live/ PSN community.

It’s a shame there’s still a very old fashioned view on sports games. With video games seen as acceptable pass time, it still puzzles me why sports games are discarded as ‘pointless’. The two main sport games I often play are Fifa and UFC Undisputed. Each title recreates the thrill of the real sport with the convenience of simply turning on a console.

Much like any game with multilayer, the enjoyment of the experience can be hugely increased when played with friends. The Fifa games have played host to countless hours of fun on the digital pitch with my friends, from both real life and online. The same can be said for my times with Call of Duty, Quake, Battlefield and Team Fortress 2 (to name a few), yet people still don’t see sports games as credible genre.

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It’s disappointing that people can still be so ignorant simply because it’s a game based on something they don’t have any interest in. More often or not, these are (funnily enough) the same people who ignore new ideas and concepts and stay within their comfort zone. Sure sport game players (at least a fair chunk of them) tend to stay to the same games, but at least they don’t look down on others for playing something else. The ‘hardcore’ gamer can enjoy his/her sports games as well as everything else on the market.

Play what ever you want, enjoy for how long you want. If we are to criticize and judge games (regardless of franchise, genre or even developer) lets at least judge them ALL fairly. Until my digital Fifa football bounces into your game of your choice, there shouldn’t be any reason to look down at sports games…or any genre for that matter.

 

Sean Halliday


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